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Indian American Sheila Lichtblau apparent victor for Marin judgeship

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Photo courtesy of Sheila Lichtblau

Photo courtesy of Sheila Lichtblau

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Deputy County Counsel Sheila Lichtblau appeared headed toward victory in her election for Marin Superior Court judgeship on election night, where she held a 4-point margin of victory over her opponent, Deputy Public Defender Michael Coffino.

With 181 of 182 precincts reporting, Lichtblau had garnered 35,881 votes, or 52 percent. Coffino had 33,151 votes, or about 48 percent.

The duo squared off for the vacant seat of Marin Superior Court Office No. 2. The incumbent, Judge Faye D’Opal, plans to leave the bench when her term expires in December.

Lichtblau, who is of Indian and Puerto Rican descent, received D’Opal’s endorsement for the seat.

Lichtblau, 50, campaigned on the principals of bringing greater diversity to the Marin bench, using especially her background as the daughter of immigrants. She also campaigned heavily on her experiences as a judge pro term and as a federal mediator. She’s specialized in civil litigation, and before the Marin County Counsel’s Office in 2006, she worked at a corporate law firm in San Francisco, the state Department of Industrial Relations and an anti-poverty nonprofit.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Coffino, a 48-year-old resident of Sausalito, employed his own campaign to voice what he thinks is a severe lack of career defense attorneys on the Marin bench. He said his experience as a defense attorney includes representing thousands of defendants and going to trial on more than 50 occasions.

He has served as a Marin County public defender since 2003 and has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oregon and master’s and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Coffino’s endorsement list included San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, California State Controller Betty Yee, “Gorky Park” author Martin Cruz Smith, CNN commentator Van Jones and numerous mayors and council members in Marin.

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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